Tag: Zero Waste

Email Zero Waste | Join our Facebook Group

We are a group of a dozen or so Unitarians and friends who like to share our enthusiasm for reducing waste.

We met with congregational administrator to reduce waste on site, including composting paper towels from washrooms, ensuring kitchen food waste go into our round black bins to have the red wriggler worms turn it into compost for the gardens and asking caretakers to be aware of recycling systems.

We have done workshops related to reducing waste. We usually do a forum, this year online, about reducing waste during the winter holidays.

We are very open to your suggestions and support.

“All We Can Save” Book Study Group

An invitation from Metro Vancouver Unitarian Zero Waste Group:

Are you hungry for deeper dialogue about the climate crisis and building community around solutions? 

This question opens the description of the small-group discussion program Circles, based on the 2021 anthology All We Can Save. Find out more about the online resources and format of the series here:

https://www.allwecansave.earth/circles

Join Unitarians  and friends from congregations near and far in a Zoom series of ten conversations. We’ll keep the group sizes small for optimum participation.

For a sample of the thinking behind the program, watch this 2022 TED talk by co-author Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VsOJR40M0as&t=15s

The first zoom series will start Saturday, May 13 12 noon and continue on the 2nd and 4th Saturdays thereafter.

Click HERE to register: https://forms.gle/xFwGJuKjRJZDmkwL6

https://tinyurl.com/allwecansavecircleform

email: UCV contact Mary Bennett [email protected]  

Hard copies ($39) and softcover ($24) are available at Banyen Books or if they’re out they can order in for you within a couple of days.

3 copies are also available in UCV library donated by Mary Bennett. They are also easily available from public libraries.

ZW Blog 1 – Recycling Masks and Making Compost

A quick audit check confirmed that only masks were in the box and not other garbage

ZW at UCV Blog Post 1 –
Recycling Masks and Creating Good Compost

If you  haven’t yet noticed, it but thanks to Karen Bartlett and Yvonne Marcus, we have a box where you can deposit used face masks. And yes, you can bring ones from home and add them. We’ve already filled one box and with congregational administrator, Casey’s, support, Karen is prepared to continue donating the cost and organizing getting a new box when one is full. It’s just inside Hewett Hall.

Karen says, “Thank you to Casey for being the point person to pass along the information when the box was ¾ full, giving us time to organize the new box.

Also thanks to everyone who is using the box. A quick audit check confirmed that only masks were in the box and not other garbage.”

You Can Do It! We Can Help!

Karen (and the ZW team) want to share this as a good example that anyone at UCV can take on a small project and “make it so.”

Here are some quotes found by googling “zero waste quotations” that were read at the start of our meeting. The theme is “just do it”! Or as Home Hardware says: You can do it. We can help

The world is changed by your example not by your opinion.

To do good you actually have to do something.

Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.

Waste is a design flaw.

If you have an idea related to zero waste and want to know how to go about it and who you might need to check in with, we’d be *very* happy to lend support!

It looks a little gross, but I guarantee that the red wriggler worms will appreciate this soup!

Compost bins. We’re about to enter “peak dry leaves” season when our stalwart gardeners rake up the barrels and barrels full of leaves.  As well as the bins for organic waste that go to the city, we have 6 round black bins with some hardy red wriggler worms in them that can, with a little help, create “black gold” compost for our gardens.  Mary Bennett has been chief compost enthusiast and worker, but got behind during the time we weren’t regularly meeting in person. We need your help to get the red wrigglers healthy and working again, and the key thing is they need some food (vegetable and fruit scraps especially, although they seem to love their coffee!) and, even more importantly, water.

Our team are all going to take turns taking out the green counter top bin in Hewett Centre on Sundays. A quick way to add moisture, is to fill it 2/3 or so full with water before taking out. (Full might make it difficult to walk easily without spilling). As well, we’re going to make a concerted effort over next month or two (before the damp weather returns) to regularly fill one of the tall white containers near Hitschmanova entrance with water and add to the bins.

Right now it’s very dry, so if you can help, you’ll find you’ll need to pour in slowly or add 1/4 of a bucketful to each of 4 bins.  You can do this any time you’re on site.

No meat or bones, but the red wrigglers are ok with napkins, coffee filters, (most) tea bags.

(Speaking of which, let’s not use the silky ones, ok?)

The black round bins are on the Fremlin (east) side adjacent to the lane. There’s one right near the city waste bins as well.

 

 

 

Cathy and Rosemary added some water to all the bins. (But they still need more. Please help. The worms, and the earth, will thank you.)
Mary ready to dump the bin from the office, having added water to help provide a drink to our thirsty red wriggler worms.
Step 2 – just dump in. If you had some fruit and vegetable waste and are able to add some of the dried leaves around the bins to cover that will help keep rodent-activity down.

More information about our Zero Waste (part of Enviro Team) Circle can be found here.

vancouverunitarians.ca/zero-waste

Zero Waste

 

Zero Waste Circle – New for 2022

Want support for reducing waste?

We’re starting a short, monthly, check-in and sharing of successes and challenges. Join us on the 3rd Sunday at 12:30 pm or fill out this form to suggest other ideas: https://ucv.im/Zero-waste-form

Zero Waste Circle

a monthly, fairly social, definitely supportive zero waste circle check-in. We usually meet in the Family Room and most people bring their lunch to munch as we share.
We *might* come up with initiatives but it would be mainly those of us wanting to share successes, ask for support and ideas to meet each other and learn more about reducing waste.

Plan for each session

  • opening reading
  • check in – less than 1 minute – introduce yourself with a “success” (even an ongoing success – e.g. I’m still getting to London Drugs regularly to recycle all my plastic bags or I’m still paying attention to food waste and improving in that regard.)
  • 2nd round – something you’ve been struggling with and would like feedback from others.
  • UCV Action Planning and/or Education/sharing: A focus on an educational piece by one of the members.
  • Summarize action decisions
  • closing: reminder of future meetings and events
Leadership roles of facilitation, zoom hosting, note-taking if needed will be rotated.
It might even be a “gateway drug” towards more involvement with UCV in general and Enviro team in particular.
More information: contact [email protected]
To join our email group, send a note to [email protected]

Would you commit to reducing your waste for just 30 days?

It takes 30 days to create a new habit

Photo: from SPEC’s Waste Reduction page

Zero Waste 30-Day Resolutions

By Mary Bennett

I recently watched this TED Talk by Matt Cutts suggesting we give up on New Year’s resolutions, and just try something new for 30 days. (It’s only three minutes!)

He says 30 days is the right amount of time to create a new habit by adding or subtracting something from your life. Matt is a software engineer (with big credentials). If you’re curious about his 30-day goals, here is Matt’s blog, and here are his credentials.

So for anyone who’s already broken or never made a New Year’s resolution this year, the Environment Committee’s Zero Waste Team would like to encourage you to give this 30-day commitment a try in the effort to reduce your use of single-use plastic. We all intend to bring our own bags and not use Styrofoam, take out cups or… well, you can fill in the blanks with your confession.

The Zero Waste Team got together after the Environment Committee sponsored a Sunday forum presented by Zero Waste Canada going over their program for how organizations can be certified as zero-waste. While people found the forum interesting, what followed a call for more suggestions on what individuals can do. Zero Waste Canada presented a pyramid with Rethink at the top and Recycle only half way down. As many of us know, we can experience a moment of feeling virtuous (well deserved) when we sort our garbage and make sure all the recyclables go into the right bin, but they—and I—think rethinking how we live our lives is the first order of business.

We plan to offer a one-day Zero Waste workshop at the church in the spring. In the meantime, we’re going to offer some suggestions for small steps you—and we—can take to change some of our habits.

We invite you to join us in creating SMART goals for Waste Reduction.

SMART goals are

S – Specific: Goal explains clearly exactly what you want to accomplish
M – Measurable: Has measurable results
A – Achievable: Clarity about how the goal could be accomplished
R – Relevant – Related to waste reduction
T – Time-bound: 30 days

Here are some suggestions gleaned from various posts about reducing single-use plastic. We hope you’ll join us in deciding to add or subtract something for the next 30 days—and maybe start a new habit.

  • At restaurants ask for your beverage by adding “No straw” or bring your own stainless steel straw.
  • Carry your own container to restaurants so you can avoid their Styrofoam or plastic ones.
  • Take mesh bags for putting produce in when you shop.
  • Find and buy toilet paper that is not wrapped in plastic. (And please let me know where you found it.)
  • Use reusable cloths instead of paper towels.

Is there something you’re prepared to do differently for the next 30 days? Pick one of the above (or create your own) and let us know: [email protected].


Some References

Eight Single-Use Plastic Items You Can Quit Right Now

Queen of Green’s Local Recommendations for Green Newbies

SPEC BC — Note: We plan to continue to have a representative from our team attend their monthly meetings.

The Vancouver Unitarian Zero-Waste Team is: Mary Bennett, Mairy Beam, Eleanore Dunn, Randall MacKinnon, Sandy Riecken, Cathy Sevcik, Teresa Morton. You could join us! Our plan is to focus on actions more than meetings and fun as much as work.


Buy Nothing Groups Are Now All Over Vancouver

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Above: Meet your neighbours while buying nothing

Buy Nothing Groups are now in every neighbourhood in Vancouver, and many areas beyond the city as well.

They’ve been growing both in membership and number of groups since March 2020, many doubling in size in six months from the start of the pandemic.

Cayla introduced Mary to the Buy Nothing Project in early 2019, after meeting at the womens’ gathering.

Photo

photo

Above: Buy Nothing Champions Cayla (left) and Mary (right)

It began with one group and 81 members. Three years later, there are five groups in Kitsilano with nearly 3,000 members.

Cayla and Mary are now administrators on their respective neighbourhood Buy Nothing groups, Marpole and Kitsilano North East.

These are facebook groups where people give stuff away, ask for what they need, and express their gratitude.

Importantly, expressions of gratitude are what keeps community building in the forefront.

In 2019, CityTV visited a Buy Nothing “free store” that Mary coordinated. (You can view the Youtube video above.)

Kitsilano is the largest group in Vancouver and has recently helped to mentor volunteers and promote new groups in West Point Grey and Dunbar-Kerrisdale.

Do you want to declutter without contributing to the landfill?

If you’ve ever frequented, or have ever fantasized about, a “free store” here’s a way to try it out.

Janice Doyle with small cook set for hiking trips

Above: At Buy Nothing Kitsilano, Janice is happy her little camp stove (bought 40 years ago) will find a new home. Many years ago she and her husband purchased an outdoors cook set for hiking trips. It comes a part so you have a kettle, fry pan, sauce pan, and a little gas cooker

You can find a group in British Columbia by going to Buy Nothing BC on Google Maps.

image links to google maps buy nothing bc

Google Maps / Buy Nothing BC

*Note: The story was first published in January 2021 and updated January 2022. Cayla and Mary have both stepped down as admins but remain enthusiastic members of their Buy Nothing groups.

Zero Waste Holidays 1 – Gift-giving tips

Our annual zero waste event will be Wednesday December 16. I’ll be posting some blog posts prior to that to get you in the mood. Your contributions are very welcome on the zoom call or in advance. I can post here. This post is by Vivian Davidson who will be one of the speakers on December 16th — Mary Bennett


By Vivian Davidson

The holidays are often a season filled with gift-giving and consumerism and our wallets, the environment and emotional wellbeing take a huge hit. This does not need to be the case.  I and my family have long espoused the spirit of the holidays over the consumerist ethos that has overtaken what is supposed be festive occasions.  As such I have developed very sustainable practices when thinking about what and how I give.  Below are some examples that I hope will help you in your ethical gift giving journey. After all there is no reason not to spread joy and love whilst conserving our environment, sanity and creating beautiful memories and experiences.  

For starters, whatever physical gifts I give I prioritize local and sustainable.  I research companies in Vancouver that are committed to sustainable materials and processes so I forgo the ubiquitous big-name online shopping companies that mostly do not provide these choices. 

I will then wrap said gifts in things like newspaper or cool ads/pages from magazines that might be colourful to add some art to the wrapping.  Also, I tend to prefer what I have called “moments over tokens” which is to give experience-based items over ‘stuff’; for example, buying tickets for art events like theatre shows or art exhibits or a festival especially now to support local shops and the Arts and artists as much as possible. So, focusing on experiences rather than items. On that vein, I also like to get gift cards to local restaurants to support local businesses which again, is even more meaningful now.

I also like to find out people’s spirit animal or a favourite animal or flower or tree and sketch that for them along with a poem or short write-up about them and my relationship with them and what I treasure about knowing them.

Something not many people do which I highly encourage they do, is to give themselves a treat; some people call it a ‘guilty pleasure’ yet I like to call it ‘self care’, something we tend to overlook in our hyped and busy lives. So, for my ‘self care’ treat I like to gift myself a massage or anything body care related as during the year I really ask a lot of my body and giving back to it is something I never regret.

So, hopefully I have given you some inspiration and a way to give to others, to yourself and to mother Nature this holiday season and well, hopefully throughout the year as well. Stay calm, safe and happy everyone.

What are your zero waste tips?

Join our facebook group and share.


Reflections on Plastic-Free July from UCV Zero Waste

You may have heard of the initiative “Plastic-Free July.” It is a global movement and a challenge to reduce plastic waste. Local zero-waste shops like Nada Grocery have been at the forefront of promoting this important work in our community. While it is nice to have a special month to “zero” in on the consumption of single-use plastics, we also know the work is year-long.

This year poses a particularly difficult challenge because the safety measures used to protect us from COVID often come with more packaging, less opportunity to use our many-use items.

Vancouver Unitarian’s Zero Waste team members reflect on how they are navigating their commitment to being plastic-free and zero waste in a pandemic. We asked: Has the pandemic shifted your habits with plastic? Why or Why not? and What are some examples of steps you’re taking to be both safe AND plastic-free? 

 

“My habits with plastic have changed slightly because I strive to live a sustainable and plastic-free life as possible I have endeavored to abstain from activities that require me to introduce more plastic into my life. At the grocery stores, I refuse to use plastic bags and even if I have to carry out my items and later put them in my own bag I won’t use plastic bags. The one thing I had to do which hurt more than I thought was to use disposable cups when having coffee outside as we cannot use our own mugs.
In addition, I have not ordered take out except once and I asked them to have as little packaging as possible. Yes, it came in a container but I asked for compostable.

In order to be safe and plastic-free I wash my hands and avoid touching my face rather than using disposable gloves which research has proven is a false positive anyway. I made my own mask and use that.”

– Vivian Davidson


“Yes.  Instead of going to NADA (way too scary) we’ve been ordering from SPUD.  There’s much more packaging, including non-reusable large cardboard boxes.  Last week one such box contained only 1 loaf of half frozen bread.  Now that NADA has an on-line system, I am back to using it instead of SPUD.  Throughout the pandemic I’ve been getting my produce at farmers markets which are generally good about reducing packaging but even they are using more plastic bags.
I used to be much more pure about getting my bread in paper bags, not plastic but was so desperate at various points in the pandemic to find gluten-free vegan bread that I lowered my standards.  Hoping now that the g/f bakeries are opening up I can insist on bread in paper, or at least bread that hasn’t been frozen in plastic.
Shopping at farmers market feels safe since it’s outside.  Online orders from NADA is now an option.  Stores like the East End Food Coop have taken good steps for safety but sadly their bulk area has been removed.
PS Also very sorry that London Drugs is not doing plastic recycling anymore.”
– Mairy Beam

“The pandemic has shifted my ability to stay committed to plastic-free to the degree I had been committed before. I think moments like this really test us in ways we don’t anticipate and it’s interesting to notice where the motivation to use packaging “for safety” feels different than using it “for convenience.” I am trying to focus on the fact that things won’t always be like this.

I am visiting places that are supportive of zero-waste even in the face of pandemic. The Safeway at King Ed has been allowing reusable shopping bags if you pack your own, and the JJ Bean on 16th and Cambie (and assuming all over too) is now allowing clean travel mugs. I am ordering take out from time to time but we got to places that use compostables like Beetbox Vegetarian. I love to feel our community pull together and remain committed to our values by making our environmental practices as safe to continue as possible.”

-Marie Witt

Kids, Youth, and Justice

What are UCV kids doing with Social and Environmental Justice?  

Justice work is integral to Unitarian Universalism; for many of us justice work—whether social or environmental—is spiritual work. When we take a good look at living the seven principles, we find that they call us to act for justice, equity, compassion, and democracy and we are called to take interdependence seriously.   

We bring these values of justice, equity, compassion, and democracy into our children and youth programs through stories, games, activities, discussion, and outdoor explorations. Our upper elementary students worked with the CUC’s Truth, Healing, and Reconciliation Reflection Guide last year. We are looking for more opportunities to build relationship and learn about our indigenous neighbors. The Harry and UU Summer Theatre camp group chose to focus on “Waste” as the Horcrux (societal ill) they would fight, and we brought the Zero Waste Challenge to class in October under the theme of “Abundance.” We are continuing the challenge this month with “Courage.”  

The UCV Youth Group is currently exploring a focus for an Environmental Justice action project. Zero Waste and fighting the pipeline expansion are top of their list. Stay tuned for more information from our Youth! 

Justice Work Philosophy

My philosophy regarding doing social justice with children and youth is evolving. Sometimes we adults have a passion to bring knowledge and awareness of big issues to our kids; we want to make sure they are culturally, socially, and environmentally aware. I certainly have had this tendency with my own kids. However, I have recently noticed a sense of overwhelm in some of our middle elementary students. There’s a tendency to joke about wrecking the world which seems to be defensive humour in the face of very real problems. Adults are failing to protect the world, how are kids supposed to help? Why should they take on that burden? Where is the hope? 

Erin Leckie, from Be the Change, sent me a 1998 article from Yes! Magazine by David Soebel after I talked to her about kids and hope. I was inspired by Mr. Soebel’s perspective. He has important points to keep in mind as we feel excitement around bringing justice work into our programming with children and youth.   

What Shapes an Activist? 

“If we prematurely ask children to deal with problems beyond their understanding and control, then I think we cut them off from the possible sources of their strength.” 

“… there are healthy ways to foster environmentally aware, empowered students. One way to find the answer is to figure out what contributes to the development of environmental values in adults. What happened in the childhoods of environmentalists to make them grow up with strong ecological values? A handful of studies like this have been conducted, and when Louise Chawla of Kentucky State University reviewed them for her article, “Children’s Concern for the Natural Environment” in Children’s Environment Quarterly, she found a striking pattern. Most environmentalists attributed their commitment to a combination of two sources: “many hours spent outdoors in a keenly remembered wild or semi-wild place in childhood or adolescence, and an adult who taught respect for nature.” Not one of the conservationists surveyed explained his or her dedication as a reaction against exposure to an ugly environment.

photo: family plotWhat a simple solution. No rainforest curriculum, no environmental action, just opportunities to be in the natural world with modeling by a responsible adult.”  –David Soebel, 1998 YES! Magazine 

My takeaway goals for social and environmental justice with children and youth are: 

  1. Early Childhood: foster awe, wonder, and connection with the natural world/real people 
  2. Middle Childhood: Explore wider–neighborhood, city, learn about the world/people 
  3. Early Adolescence and up: Take initiative for Social Action–saving the world 

Within this outline, any idea for action that a child brings up independently is worth exploring and supporting. We believe in our ideas and act on them, that is our 5th principle after all! 

Go well, 

Kiersten E. Moore 

Director of Religious Exploration with Children and Youth 

Fix-it Folks Wanted

Do you have a small household appliance that does’t work? Do you feel bad at the idea of throwing it in the garbage? Do you wonder if it would be possible to repair it?

“Repair Matters” (facebook)     http://repairmatters.ca/ Vancouver (B.C.) is an all volunteer service started by four women university students from Simon Fraser and Emily Carr – back around 2015. They have taken a few breaks over time, and have started up again just recently.  Repair Matters invites people to bring their domestic appliances, and related items, (gadget, toys, tools, sport ‘stuff,’ etc.) to their repair events.  They find that with their shared knowledge, and experiences, they are able to repair many of the items brought to them.

“Repair Matters” is looking forward to setting up a repair event at Vancouver Unitarian Church.  We will let you know the time and date for this event when we get our schedules coordinated.

Are you a ‘fix it’ type person who’d enjoy volunteering your time, talent and skills to help members and friends at UCV?

The Environment Team is exploring the idea of creating space for having small household appliances repaired or adjusted. If you have such items hiding out somewhere  that you’d like to have repaired, or if you would like to fix those items (or teach people how to fix them) we’d love to hear from you!

604-733-0370 (leave a message)

email Olga  (subject ‘fix-it’)